Learning By Doing

personal development Sep 22, 2021
Together Painting

There are, of course, other ways to learn rather than by doing.

For instance, you can read a book, take a class, or watch an instructional video.

And, yet...

The danger in learning something by passively reading, listening, or watching is that it's easy to confuse knowing of or about the thing with being able to employ or do the thing.

I know I spent a lot of my life conflating learning with ability. What about you?

If you want to build a new skill, at some point, you have to put learning into practice. And if you're going to gain confidence in that skill, you'll need to practice it in community.

Learning that does not lead to action is useless. You must do the work with and for others. You must embrace the discipline that you'll endeavor poorly before you gain the competence to do it well.

Yes, I know, that can feel scary. And yet, the most challenging things you've ever learned to do have been achieved this way. Learning by doing is how you learned to walk, talk, read, write, and every other skill and ability you engage in without thinking about it.

And, really, what are you afraid of? That you'll look unconfident and incompetent when you start? Did that hold you back when you developed the skills listed above?

Of course not.

Embracing naivete and wonder and leaning in with playfulness and rigor were decisions you made then that you can still make now.

Did you have help? Of course. While you learned to walk and talk, you were surrounded by friends and family who supported and encouraged your adventures in developing those skills. While you learned to read and write, you were surrounded by fellow travelers on the same journey.

You can cultivate these same kinds of relationships now. You can join or create a community of practice dedicated to leaning in and leveling up in the difference only each of you can make.

What are you learning? Are you learning by doing? If not, what are you really waiting for?


Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.

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